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What's your perfect ingredient?

  • s

You know, the one that seems to end up in 70% of what you cook, whether it's called for or not?

The one that you always can make something out of in a fix?

Mine: Anchovies

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      1. Cardamom; I use in rice, meat dishes, and sweets.

          1. re: tomato

            I so agree with shallots. I have had too many overgarlicked dishes so I always substitute shallots and have yummy results.

            Also red pepper flakes in veggies.

            1. re: himbeer

              Shallots are my new onion, all the flavor with less of the onion-y taste and NO crunch.

              1. re: himbeer

                Me too. I love garlic, but day to day in simple veg. dishes --> sauteed kale, broiled asparagus etc., or in vinegarette, it's the perfect thing.

                Interesting that the red pepper flakes come up, because I always seem to forget about them, but then when I remember to use them I love them and don't know why they faded away from my staples. Thanks for reminding me!

              1. re: jenniebnyc

                I agree: give me an onion and I can cook something good.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I'll be a hearty third. Get an onion out of the basket, boil some water, and then decide what dinner's going to be.

                  1. re: Pei

                    I've got to have onion and garlic. What's for dinner? I don't know but while I am deciding peel me an onion.

                    1. re: Candy

                      Haha! That's me in a nutshell too.

                1. re: pilches

                  new at cooking, mushrooms have been easy for me to be creative without worry--eggs, salads, sautes, sauces, etc. No, no mushroom desserts please.

                2. Garlic Pepper- I've used it for years and it always seems to enhance the flavor without adding salt. Unfortunately I'm at the end of my supply and all the places that I have found it in the past have stopped making it. Anyone know of a supplier for garlic pepper that is salt free? My last batch was from Fairway market and it was great!

                        1. Onion- I feel all savory food is a way of modifying the flavor of onion!!!!! In the past few years there were riots in India because of an onion shortage; they suspected one province of hording the essential root.

                          But ok-ok.......


                          1. salt. without salt all is lost

                            1. Air.

                              Is calories an ingredient?

                              1. Cayenne pepper. Even in dishes that don't really need it, I find quite often a bit ends up in there anyway.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Vexorg

                                  I am that way with cayenne as well.

                                2. tomatoes. alone or as the beginning of myriad preparations.

                                  1. garlic and sriacha sauce...and of course love baby!

                                    1. Bacon---the food of the Gods, even the rendered drippings are liquid gold.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Chile. It just gets there either during the cooking or at the table...

                                          1. take your pick ... love/spiritual consciousness/pure attention

                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                  Definetly--I keep the rinds in the freezer for soup, and none of my friends can ever figure out why mine tastes "different."

                                                  1. anchovies or red pepper flakes or cayenne

                                                    1. Thyme, olive oil, onions.

                                                        1. Home-made chicken stock
                                                          Freshly cracked black pepper
                                                          Sea salt
                                                          Olive oil
                                                          Less so, but still often - Roasted red pepper, crimini, unsalted butter, Old Bay seasoning, paprika

                                                          1. Onion and garlic are essentials in almost anything. Once you get past them, give me sundried tomatoes, so long as I am not cooking beef.

                                                            1. Fresh chiles and/or roasted bell pepper.

                                                              1. The ingredients I use most are salt, olive oil, garlic, and thyme.

                                                                1. I am with the onion clan on this one -- my mother and I often stop and wonder if other people eat as many onions as we do -- as every dinner begins with an onion.

                                                                  Other staples are:
                                                                  herbes de provence
                                                                  olive oil
                                                                  sea salt
                                                                  worcestershire sauce

                                                                  the last two I find useful for rounding out flavours in sauces, soups and stews...I am allowed to admit that here, right?

                                                                  1. Leeks, olive oil, salt/sea salt, garlic, broccoli!

                                                                    1. 1. Good salt
                                                                      2. Good olive oil
                                                                      3. Good onion
                                                                      4. Good rice

                                                                      1. lemon. A kick of lemon will pirk anything up.

                                                                        1. Nutmeg. Freshly ground and a huge hit over fruit, yogurt, in baked goods, added to broth, meat based sauces, meatloaf (especially good), eggs, etc.

                                                                          As home cooks, we go thru more whole nutmeg buy the pound than any other ingredient!

                                                                              1. fresh ginger...so fantastic!

                                                                                1. cilantro and nutmeg seem to sneak their way unexpectedly into everything.

                                                                                  another unexpected one - tequila. i splash it in my guacamole, chili, and most things mexican. people question me, until they try my guacamole. :)

                                                                                  and, i guess it goes without saying, i would simply die if i had to live a day without sea salt and garlic.